Govtech News Wrap – 1 July, 2021

Weekly news wrap of government technology

Fed Govt divvies out millions to boost Aussie cyber expertise; Expert warns National Archives at risk of cyber breach that could shatter public confidence in government; and WA unveils its next-gen Digital Strategy.

– NSW’s Department of Customer Service is set to deliver “a new vision for licensing”, enlisting CGI to help upgrade its digital licensing function. The DCS will leverage Calytera’s Amanda licencing platform, having rolled out a “bare-bones version” of the platform last December, iTnews reports.

The platform will incorporate identity verification, automated approval processes, and an integrated payment engine.

Amanda is already used widely by agencies across the US, Canada and UK for licensing and permissions.


– Australia’s National Archives could prove a ripe target for criminal hackers, a cybersecurity expert and ex-CIO of the agency has warned, with “less-secure technology to gain access to some of our most sensitive government documents and potentially change or delete records”.

Anne Lyons, a fellow with Defence-funded think tank the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, warns any attack on the “memory holders, the truth holders” of the nation could lead to a loss of public trust in government and “create cracks in our democratic and our important institutions”.


The WA Government has released its second Digital ICT Strategy, promising to accelerate data sharing, develop new analytics capabilities, and progress its transition away from legacy IT systems, a process it began in 2016.

The latest Digital Strategy is set to accelerate the transformation initiated by the 2016-20 DigitalWA ICT Strategy.

Key to the new strategy is a plan to “build whole-of-government digital capabilities” which agencies can “connect their individual services to”, with services built around WA’s centralised digital service portal,

“This will be driven by new whole-of-government capabilities enabling the delivery of seamless digital services, and a public sector workforce with strong technology skills and the right internal capabilities to deliver convenient, smart and secure services for all Western Australians,” said WA Minister Innovation and ICT Don Punch. will also be expanded with a range of “self-service portal capabilities”.

“These capabilities will simplify online government interactions by allowing us to design services around your needs and life events,” the strategy states.

As part of the strategy, the Government has also outlined plans to establish a “trusted digital identity”, allowing its citizens and businesses to use to securely access multiple agency services.


– Australian War Memorial has sought an upgrade to its decade-old online shopfront – a platform selling products derived from the National Collection, as well as digital images, photographic prints, video, audio held in the Memorial’s Digital Asset Management Systems.

According to the tender, the Memorial is seeking a solution that can modernise its omnichannel retail operations (both online and physical). Tenderers may propose solutions made up of one or several applications, covering either retail, online and/or collection sales.


– Defence Housing Australia (DHA) has announced it will engage in a “discovery process” with vendors to find suitable technology and solutions to “future-proof” and “resolve… existing technical debt that the organisation faces”.

Information gathered from this discovery may then be used to undertake a subsequent procurement process.

DHA notes it is “increasingly being constrained by a complex IT landscape and processes which are driving higher costs to serve Defence Members… [and] hampering the organisation’s ability to deliver a digitally native experience. This has resulted in technology capability gaps that are preventing DHA from providing fast, clear and simple services in a financially sustainable manner.”

The Deadline for registration is 5 July, with the industry briefing to commence the following week.


– Gartner has reported that the infrastructure as a service (IaaS) market in Australia experienced a 40.4 per cent growth in 2020 to more than $1.4 billion, up from $1 billion in 2019.

Amazon retained the top position in the local IaaS market in 2020, followed by Microsoft and Google – with the top three IaaS providers accounting for 70 per cent of the Australian market.

“The global healthcare crisis and disruption in workplace environments during the pandemic era drove increased demand from existing Microsoft Azure customers to migrate mission-critical workloads, such as from healthcare applications with AI-assisted bots, digital twins in manufacturing and e-commerce in retail.”

Google’s IaaS reportedly revenue grew 66 per cent off the back of strong growth from the retail, government and healthcare sectors, as well as Google’s “focus on supporting the development and deployment of cloud applications in both a hybrid and multi-cloud model”.


The Federal Government has divvied out the first round of its Cyber Security Skills Innovation Fund, allocating $8.2 million to eight organisations, including the CSIRO, La Trobe University, and not-for-profit training provider Grok Academy to boost cyber skills amongst secondary and tertiary students as well as professionals.

The first round, which opened in February, offered universities, governments and other training providers grants of up to $3 million each to fund 50 per cent of a cybersecurity training program conducted with another partner organisation.

The Government has made just over $70 million available through the fund over the next three years, propped up with an additional $43.8 million from this year’s budget.


The Queensland Government has launched its new Digital Professional Workforce Action Plan, to support pandemic-impacted professionals break into “technology-intensive careers”.

The Government announced it would allocate $8 million to bolster the state’s digital workforce.

The four-year Digital Professional Workforce Action Plan forms part of the $200 million Future Skills Fund announced by the state Government last year, supporting individuals impacted by Covid-19 access digital re-skilling as a fast-track back into the workforce.


The Federal Government is seeking public feedback on a draft carbon capture and storage (CCS) method using ‘Carbon Credits’ as part of the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF). The proposed method would enable projects that capture and permanently store greenhouse gases in underground geological formations to generate Australian carbon credit units.


The Queensland Government will boost its industrial and academic might in the space sector, confirming a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Australian Space Agency.


– Victorians will be able to have their say on priority locations to address mobile and broadband blackspot coverage areas across the state. Through an interactive map, businesses and individuals will be able to pinpoint areas where they experience a problem with mobile coverage or internet access.

The move is part of the state Government’s $550 million Connecting Victoria program to improve broadband and mobile coverage across the state.


The South Australian Government has updated its YourSAy online public consultation hub, allowing citizens to find and provide feedback on consultations open across the state government. “Citizens can take part in online discussions, complete a survey or vote in polls, depending on what the topic is. Information on past engagements is also freely available for citizens,” the Government said.


The NSW Government has committed $23.6 million to progress the rollout of the state’s non-urban water metering reform to assist with the shift to telemetry-based metering.

Water users who transmit their water take information via NSW’s telemetry system will receive a rebate, applied to water bills, to help accelerate the uptake of telemetry.

Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey notes that “telemetry is the most efficient way of providing near real-time information on water take and will increase community confidence in monitoring and compliance, and provide farmers and irrigators with vital, up-to-date information on their water usage”.


The Federal Government is offering grants of up to $2 million for businesses and manufacturers that can shore up the supply of critical medical and agricultural products and secure supply chains in times of crisis.

Applications are open for manufacturers under the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative, part of the Government’s $1.5 billion Modern Manufacturing Strategy.


– Geoscience Australia has unveiled its Critical Minerals Mapping Initiative online portal, in partnership with the United States Geological Survey and the Geological Survey of Canada. The portal contains the world’s largest dataset of critical minerals in and around ore deposits.


– The Federal Government last week passed its Online Safety Act bill through parliament with Labor’s backing, giving the eSafety Commissioner unprecedented information gathering and investigative powers.

According to the Government, the Act provides stronger powers for the eSafety Commissioner “to crack down on cyberbullying of children, toxic online abuse, harmful content and the non-consensual sharing of intimate images”. However, the Act has faced criticism from several corners, with the Greens labelling it “utterly undercooked”, while a number of Labor Senators expressed concern around the concentration of power under the Commissioner, as well as the impact on encryption and on vulnerable groups, including sex workers.


For the third year running, South Australia’s Department of the Premier and Cabinet’s ICT and Digital Government Website Design Systems team has achieved the Plain English Campaign’s seal of excellence, a 2021 Internet Crystal Mark, for the South Australian Government’s Online Accessibility Toolkit.